back to article 2015 Fiat 500 fashionista, complete with facelift

It’s all about the engines. Fiat has added new Euro 6 compliant engines to its line-up and this is the excuse the company has employed to call the facelifted 500 “new”. It gets a bit of a nip and tuck in the form of a nose job. Lights slanted back a bit and LED running lights. Mani beam is still halogen or optionally Xenon, …

  1. Snowy Silver badge

    Urban I understand but is extra urban?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That is when the yummy mummies park in motorbike spots and attempt to drive down foot paths.

  2. xenny

    Outside the urban. Driving at higher, although not IIRC just motorway speeds

  3. vordan

    It would have been nice if the speed was in km/h and fuel consumption in litres per 100km, as the normal world is used to.

    1. Anonymous IV
      WTF?

      Units

      > It would have been nice if the speed was in km/h and fuel consumption in litres per 100km, as the normal world is used to.

      Can anyone explain why the unit "litres per 100 km" was chosen, rather than the far more logical "kilometres per litre"? There's at least the analogy with "kilometres per hour".

    2. fruitoftheloon
      FAIL

      @Vordan

      Vordan,

      There is a clue in the URL matey: .co.uk

      It really isn't that complicated...

      Regards,

      Jay

  4. Oldfogey

    Leagues per hour?

    This is a UK website. We use MPH, and, despite the pumps being in litres, everybody thinks in MPG. Get used to it.

    And who wants a built in satnav? The software probably won't be to your taste, the updates will cost a fortune, and what happens when it dies? Give me a free standing unit.

    1. Small Furry Animal
      Pint

      Re: Leagues per hour?

      A (non-alcoholic if you're driving) beer for you.

      Personally though, I prefer the A-Z. I hate being nagged by Merkan voices.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Leagues per hour?

        I use Nokia Here, a cute German female voice.

        1. Tubz
          Gimp

          Re: Leagues per hour?

          Always knew you had a thing for Fuhrer Merkle.

    2. Big-nosed Pengie

      Re: Leagues per hour?

      But what's that in hogsheads per furlong?

  5. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Stealth Mode

    Show of hands: who thinks that making a vehicle difficult to see ('Camouflage' skin) constitutes a safety feature?

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Stealth Mode

      Agreed - anything which breaks up the outline of the vehicle, be it a traditional camo pattern or a funky dazzle look, has to be a bad idea. Unfortunately, the law is unlikely to recognise the defence of "(s)he was driving a damn stupid car, which was very hard for me to see."

      Perhaps I'm old and cantankerous, but I cannot see the point of these infantile and toy-like (in presentation, rather than size) cars. If you want a toy, fine. Buy a toy. But remember that a car is a ton+ of rapid injury or death in the wrong hands, and the wrong hands are definitely those of someone who buys a bijou playroom for use on the Queens highway.

      1. Andre Carneiro

        Re: Stealth Mode

        Yes. You are old and cantakerous, arguing solely on opinion and no evidence.

        In my day cars were boring too ;)

      2. tfewster Silver badge
        Flame

        @45RPM Re: bijou playroom for use on the Queens highway.

        I've come to loath Fiat 500s. Almost invariably doing 65 MPH in lane 3 of the motorway, with half a mile of clear road ahead of them and an empty middle lane. And when the middle lane ISN'T empty - their "overtaking" speed drops to 61 MPH

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: @45RPM bijou playroom for use on the Queens highway.

          Film it, upload to youtube, let the rozzers know.

          The more people who do that, the more likely it becomes that the law will be changed to allow them to go after lanehogs based on video evidence.

  6. John of Warndon

    The Apple Car?

    A ridiculous statement? I think not. The current iteration of the Fiat 500 appeared at a similar time to the iPhone. Both were highly praised for their sense of style and sheer coolness. Neither were (or are) earth shattering with regard to technology. Both have sold in big numbers.

    There are further parallels. In the late 1990's, both Fiat and Apple were on the edge of an abyss. Fiat's cars were lacklustre, anecdotally unreliable and the epitome of cheaply produced and sold vehicles. Fiat, like Apple, was on the verge of bankruptcy. The iPod and then the iPhone helped turn wayward Apple into a global juggernaut within an startlingly short time. So it was with Fiat. The company famed for producing cheap cars has now become a premium brand courtesy of the 500. A brand that could have been swallowed up in a hostile takeover went on to swallow up Chrysler.

    More parallels? Consider how the increasing lardiness of the 500L compares with the iPhone 6 plus. Both the 500L and 6+ were relatively late to market and responses to market pressures created by rivals, with the 500L being marginally less hideous than the horrendous Mini Countryman.

    It is a testament to the 500's style that it continues to be cool despite being an ageing model. Fiat is quite correct to avoid major changes. Another iPhone parallel?

    Having been one of the first to purchase the 500 when it came out, I had to wait for months to receive the car after ordering it. Another Apple trait? Indeed, it would seem that the only thing missing was a Fiat dealership with a fancy store in Regent Street, so that queues of fanbois and fangirlz could camp out in eager anticipation of its arrival. Let us see if this "new" 500 can emulate the success the world is anticipating of the iPhone 6S.

    1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

      Re: The Apple Car?

      "A ridiculous statement?"

      Why, yes. Yes it is.

      I've lost count of the (original, pre-2003) FIAT Pandas I've seen around here with well over half a million kilometres on the clock, and number plates dating them at well over 20 years old. Truly they are Italy's unsung workhorses. (My own FIAT Punto ESX lasted 17 years before it went to the big motorway in the sky.)

      That said, I'm not sure why you think FIAT going for "coolness" is such a big surprise. FIAT Chrysler Automobiles also own Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Ferrari, and Maserati. And they're *Italian*, for f*ck's sake!

      As for the iPhone: it pretty much redefined the meaning of the term "smartphone" thanks to its innovations in usability. It's not the physical components alone that make a product great, but the way they are connected to the user through their interfaces. Apparently, only Microsoft have twigged this 'secret', though the more open nature of the Windows platform makes it much harder to execute on this.

  7. Wombling_Free
    Trollface

    I didn't realise

    so many hairdressers read El Reg.

  8. Tubz

    Oh no, the 1.2L 900cc engine, does it still crap itself when it sees a hill and goes of drying back to Turin?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      the 1.2L 900cc engine, does it still crap itself when it sees a hill and goes of drying back to Turin

      If the rental I has a while ago is anything to go by, yes. 2 normal adults, and it wouldn't climb a hill in anything above 2nd gear. Horrible tinny pile of crap. Not even worth buying as a fashion statement, if I were given one I'd sell it.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        "If the rental I has a while ago is anything to go by, yes. 2 normal adults, and it wouldn't climb a hill in anything above 2nd gear."

        Seconded. I haven't driven a 500 but we did have a Panda hire car with the same engine in Sardinia - a rather moutainous island. The piss poor performance in the hills would have been funny if it hadn't been so damn irritating. At one point on a particularly steep incline I had to change down to 1st! No one who enjoys driving would buy one of these gutless POS unless they had no other choice.

        1. Putters

          Sorry, you were driving it wrong ! Its a Fiat, so you have to thrash the nuts off it, then thrash it again as a rental. Our little sojourn in Sardinia was a few weeks ago with a 1.2 Panda. Absolute hoot. First gear is a driving gear, not a getting started gear, and that rev counter red lines a 6,300. Especially up that funny little roundabout in Abbiadori. We christened it Timmi after the well behaved but hyperactive kid staying at our hotel.

          1. boltar Silver badge

            "with a 1.2 Panda. Absolute hoot."

            For 5 minutes. Then it rapidly becomes tedious followed by plain annoying.

  9. Robert Grant

    Mani beam is still halogen or optionally Xenon

    Someone played too much Far Cry 4.

    1. scrubber
      Joke

      Re: Mani beam is still halogen or optionally Xenon

      Xenon 2: Megablast had a shop where you could buy upgrades.

  10. Lee D Silver badge

    "Fiat has a radio screaming service"

    That doesn't sound incredibly useful... and I already have a kid, thanks.

  11. Outcast

    I know little about the 500 but how can a 1.2 Litre (1200cc) be a 900cc ?

  12. Mr Dogshit
    FAIL

    FUGLY

    The ugliest thing on wheels since the Fiat Multipla, which is saying a lot. Every time I see one of these Noddy cars i feel sick. And as for adding Facebook to a car...

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

      Re: FUGLY

      The Multiplayer - eminently practical, good value for money and OK to drive - shame you are obsessed with 'look' whatever that is

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: FUGLY

        "The Multiplayer - eminently practical, good value for money and OK to drive - shame you are obsessed with 'look' whatever that is"

        There are plenty of other practical, good value cars that don't look like the secret love child of a cardboard box and deformed duck. And the fact that all you seem to care about is value for money and practicality means you probably have about as much interest in cars as you do washing machines, so why are you commenting in this forum?

        1. Hellcat

          Re: FUGLY

          Please list the other cars that will comfortably seat 6 adults, or 3 up front with enough space in the boot to fit 3 mountain bikes stood upright - minus the front wheels.

          If you have a need for a 'van' but don't want the insurance cost, or to suffer the purchase cost of a T4 transporter, the wide track Multipla is a hoot on backroads, especially the 1.9 diesel which tunes easily to 150bhp, and beyond if you're a bit mad.

        2. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge

          Re: FUGLY

          Actually my washing machine works very well thank you very much. Capacity, reliability - all fixed. Do you need to represent a vehicle as a penis extension to comment? If you do, my apologies for intruding on your garage space.

  13. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Wait, nearly a ton?

    In the age of lightweight alloys, advanced plastics, fuel conservation, and computer aided design? Seriously? When the original (as you note) was only half that?

    1. Shades

      Re: Wait, nearly a ton?

      "When the original (as you note) was only half that?"

      The original was also half its size.

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Wait, nearly a ton?

      "Seriously? When the original (as you note) was only half that?"

      Apart from as someone else mentioned it being half the size, cars from that era were built with all the structural rigidity and crash protection of an egg box and had the performance of a kneecapped tortoise thanks to the comically small engines.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Wait, nearly a ton?

        "the performance of a kneecapped tortoise"

        It was an _upgrade_ to fit a 4hp electric motor and some traction batteries.

  14. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    "We couldn't drive on the (Lingotto) roof"

    Don't worry about it. I've done it, and it's nothing exciting except for the location (if you see what I mean).

  15. Charles Manning

    Less than 500kg...

    Yup, the old "real" Fiat 500 was a fun, if shitty, car.

    In the early 1980s a mate of mine had one that was knackered as hell, but still served as student transport. It had false plates (no parking tickets), needed the radiator filled every 10km or so, no starter motor.

    It was the only vehicle I have ever push started up hill.

  16. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    FIAT's Unusual Engines.

    The reason FIAT offer such small engines is because the ancillary costs of owning a car in Italy force them to do so.

    The 500 isn't being sold to older, experienced, drivers, but to younger drivers who are still working their way up the no-claims ladder. (It has no less than 14 rungs in Italy, not the five you get in the UK, although the way insurance works over here makes it difficult to compare like for like. As with most of continental Europe, in Italy, it's the car that's insured, not the driver.)

    Furthermore, even selling a car on costs money: changing the owner of a car requires a fee that can easily be north of €450, depending on the rated power of the engine (in kW). Other taxes also add to the high cost of car ownership, so those tiny engines are a perfect market solution: few people are driving their shiny new 500s on long trips through the mountains, but they do drive them around their cities. Think of the 500 as the 4-wheeled equivalent of the 1960s classic Vespa motor scooter, and the marketing makes a lot more sense.

    Finally, there's the small matter of fuel: Petrol is pricey here, so the less of it you need, the better.

  17. Zolko

    units

    Can anyone explain why the unit "litres per 100 km" was chosen

    not sure, but one explanation could be that this is the info that you're interested in: "If I have 300km to drive, how much fuel do I need/use ?"

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: units

      litres per 100 km

      All cars these days are sold with fuel consumption statistics in litres per 100 km and miles per gallon. Most newish cars will display their fuel consumption in either unit.

      Unfortunately, we measure distance in miles but we buy fuel in litres, so calculating the cost of a journey requires knowledge of the conversion factor* and a little bit of unnecessary mental arithmetic. What we really need is miles per litre.

      *For some reason, probably laziness, I never know the litres/gallons conversion, but I can always remember gallons (of water) to pounds, pounds to kilos (approx) and, of course, kilos (of water) to litres. This isn't a good calculation to be doing in traffic, and I suspect my results are too approximate to be useful anyway.

  18. Rick Brasche

    and still

    can't get the sub liter motor in California, US :( so most of the "charm" of an urban commuter the 500 would offer, isn't available

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